04/01/2015 04:07 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Stow Away With Me for "A Hundred Days of Europe"


Today I flew -- as I have every year at this time since the 1980s -- to Europe to kick off another spring of exploring, checking, learning, tasting, and sipping. This photo features a bit of my "Welcome to Rome" meal -- or what's left of it -- at Ristorante Fortunato. Oh, baby, I'm in for some good eating in the next couple of months!

I'm already enjoying thinking of the euro as being worth a buck. I've done this in the past (when a euro cost $1.35) in order to con myself into splurging a bit... but now, with a rate of $1.10 to the euro, that shortcut is almost honest.

Landing in Rome, I reviewed my guidebook for tips on getting into the center by taxi. It says, "The legal fixed rate to anywhere in the center of town is €48. Cabbies will complain and say it's more. But insist. Say with confidence, Quarant'otto euro -- è la legge (which means, 'Forty-eight euros -- it's the law')." Curbside at the airport, I asked the waiting cabbie the price. He said €56, maybe €60. I used my phrase and he nodded, opened his door, and we headed into town. A few minutes later, he offered me a mint and we were friends. Good information + confidence = smarter travels.

Starting on April 1st -- this Wednesday -- I'll be posting entries daily for the next hundred or so days, reporting on my experiences. First I'll be in Italy and Greece producing our Easter special, then researching my guidebooks in Rome, Tuscany, Florence, and the South of France. Then I meet my television crew in Germany to film our upcoming Reformation special before heading for London, South Wales, and southern England. Finally, in August, I'll meet the crew again and film three shows on great German cities.

I hope you can enjoy stowing away with me here on my blog. Please share a link to the blog with your traveling friends and let them know that 2015 promises to be a great year of travel...and I'd love to have them come along, too.